We are now on the fourth week of the MOOC Managing Responsibly, Practicing Sustainability, Responsibility and Ethics. This week is all about ethics. You might have heard that ethics is about doing the right thing. But very often there might be dilemma situations where it is not clear what the right thing actually is, or you might be in a situation where you know what is right but it's very hard to do it. This is what ethics is all about, it's about ethical decisions and ethical behaviors, about knowing what the right thing is and doing the right thing. We're just about to meet a man who had to take a lot of ethical decisions along his life. Meet Alan Mathison Turing. Alan, here, actually used to a professor at the University of Manchester, and he's widely considered to be the father of computer science and of artificial intelligence. But also, during the Second World War, Alan was a codebreaker working for the British military. He was able to build a machine he called the Bombe, which is actually featured in the Oscar winning movie, The Imitation Game. The Bombe would be able to decipher German military code so that he could predict that when attacks would happen, so this could save many, many lives. However, you couldn't just predict and counter any kind of attack because the Germans would know that their code was compromised. What would you do? You would need to let some of the attacks through, so people would actually die and be harmed that could be saved otherwise. However, on the other hand, there would be millions and millions of people saved because the Bombe would actually be able to shorten the war by as much as four years. You can actually see an ethical decision-making principal in what we just described. It's called The Greatest Happiness Principle. The Greatest Happiness Principle means actually making the greatest number of people happy. Or in our case, rather, the smallest number of people unhappy, to harm as little people as possible. However, there are also different decision making principles that might lead to very, very different decisions. For instance, think of something called the Golden rule of Reciprocity. This rule actually says that you should always treat others as you would want others to treat yourself. Another question would really be, if you were one of the people about to get killed or harmed in one of the attacks, would you want others to give that order to attack you? Probably, you wouldn't. Ethical decision making is not easy but it might get even more difficult when it comes to ethical action and behavior. Imagine that you are actually the one who is about to give the order to attack a certain place and you might even know that your family is in that place, and they might get hurt or even killed. Isn't that just like killing them yourself? Ethical decision making and behavior is a very, very tricky thing. They are real ethical issues and dilemmas, but they are also ethical opportunities. Alan Turing actually wasn't a manager. This leads us into the question, if ethical issues and opportunities are actually relevant in management as well. To explore that question, let's go even a little bit further back into the past, about 200 years. We're here at the Rochdale Canal, which was where most of the cotton mills were based, during the time of the Industrial Revolution. At that time, there actually would be boats coming in here and shipping cotton, fiber, towards the companies, towards the factories. And there would be other boats coming out here and shipping cotton cloth back into the world. It was during that time, that a particularly young manager, just 21 years old, at one of the factories was very concerned about an ethical issue. The name of the young manager was Robert Owen and the issue was the treatment of workers in the cotton fabrication. Imagine you actually were Robert Owen on the way to work, which is right around the corner at Chorlton Twist Mills over there, and imagine what you will find there, actually horrible conditions. There would be child labor, there would be people working inhumane working hours. There also would be situations where people were actually suffering horrible accidents. Imagine you were actually the one running the show. What would you do? Would you just accept that this is the way how things are being done? Many people probably would. Not Sir Robert Owen Sir Robert Owen would make addressing that ethical opportunity actually his life task. Many of the ideas that he came up with here in Manchester Chorlton Twist Mill, he would later implement when he had his own mill in New Lanark in Scotland. Ideas like the eight hours working day, or also employee co-management or employee ownership of companies, are things that are still influencing businesses and organizations nowadays. People like Marx and Engels would even be influenced by his ideas. Robert Owen's ideas also made him one of the founding fathers of the cooperative movement. Cooperatives are organizations that a mixture between a commercial business and a social enterprise. So that makes them kind of an alternative to the typical corporate shareholder owned business. How does that actually work? Cooperatives are member controlled. So that means that community members, employees, or also customers of the company could be members of the company and would control the company by holding shares of it. This then assures that they're managing the company and taking decisions that are good for all of them. Cooperatives, in 2012, actually had an overall revenue $2.2 trillion U.S., just the 300 biggest of them. What a huge achievement for a morally aware young manager's questioning of working conditions. One of the biggest cooperatives called the Co-op is actually here in Manchester. The Co-op has retail business units as different as funeral care, foods, banking, even travel. They've got about 5,000 stores, 70,000 employees and close to ten billion pounds in revenues. There's more impressive about this company, it's not only about the commercial things. if you look at the building behind me, this is actually the world's greenest building, or was the world's greenest building in 2013. Things like that together with, for instance, the ethical plan, the strategy for ethical business, the Co-op has long become a role-model business in ethics. However, in 2013, the Co-op was actually running into issues with two scandals that tarnished their reputation. This is a reminder for us to think about how important it is that businesses are able to keep their ethical performance up, and that they take care of these topics across different functions, across hierarchical levels, and across different departments of the business. There will be people in this building right now making morally relevant decisions. They might even come down into the park on their lunch break and think and ponder about something that's particularly tricky. How they decide will make a difference, a small one or a big one, but it will make a difference. There will also be people in there who actually know exactly what the right thing to do is but they find it very tricky, very difficult to do the right thing. Also, there will be people in there who actually work in ethics management and whose job it is to help the others to make the right decisions and to do the right thing. Because this is what ethics is all about, about making the right decision and doing the right thing. For all we know, there's even someone like a young Robert Owen in there thinking about a new way of doing business right now, about a new more sustainable, responsible and more ethical way of doing business.